Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Two Poison Arrows

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We all spend much of our lives unconsciously absorbed in a future that hasn’t happened yet or in a past that is already gone and in the process, spend much of the day out of touch with the present moment, which is the only time we ever get in which to live or act. And so, we can easily miss out on the opportunities that the present moment is constantly offering us.
                                                        - Jon Kabat-Zinn in Mindfulness Meditation
I am being called upon to remember mindfulness.  It is a process that takes a lifetime to accomplish but an instant to forget.  Mindfulness is a challenge for me and I am my own worst enemy. When my mind starts operating of it's own volition, I can go days without feeling peace. 

The past week has been a reminder of how mindfulness is a major factor in the enjoyment of life and enjoyment of life is one of my most important values.  I just have to regain control of my thoughts every so often so that I can be free to enjoy the gifts of life.

I was in a graduate course about 12 years ago with a professor who had lived his childhood in China.  His teaching was rich with the legacy of this time in his life and one day, he told us this story: The Tale of theTwo Poison Arrows. 

Once, a man was stung by the words of a neighbor and he felt the humiliation deeply.  So deeply in fact, that he repeated the spiteful words of his neighbor over and over to himself and to his family when he shared what had happened.

On the third or fourth day after the incident, he shared his story with an old uncle of his.  His uncle said that it was unfortunate that he was suffering from the sting of two poison arrows instead of one.  «How so?» asked the man. «The first poison arrow you received was when your neighbor delivered his message, the second arrow is when you choose to relive the moment after it has passed.» answered his wise uncle.

The Tale of the Two Poison arrows are a reminder for me to be mindful and put certain events in my life in firmly in their place, where they belong.  No double dose of poison arrows for me thank you very much.

Now, if I can get my thoughts to cooperate...

Bonne journée,



Lizette said...

The quote really speaks to me....I remind myself often to be "present in my life". And you have been a "present in my life", too!

Stella said...

Merci Lizette!